How to Capture the Nitty-Gritty Elements of the Real World

How to Capture the Nitty-Gritty Elements of the Real World: How many times have you looked at something and found that it was, well, just not pretty? I know I have just about every time I go out into the field on a photo shoot. However, many professionals have taken to not flowers nor models, but to the nitty-gritty elements of the real world.

And, in the long run, these works end up in museums and galleries. Think Dorthea Lange’s images of people suffering during the Depression or Robert Mapplethorpe’s self portraits. All were riveting, filled with meaning…and not

One need not turn to suffering for their subject matter, but, instead, turn to ordinary objects such as a stack of old newspapers, a bullfrog or snake and other not-pretty things to turn pretty. Try shooting these objects at different angles to bring out color and/or close-up to bring out detail.

Tips to Find the Not-So-Pretty-Turned-Pretty Photo Ops…

  1. Texture – sharp objects, itchy animal close-ups, smooth as in a reptile, scaly as in a puffer fish.
  2. Smell – a skunk, anything gaseous, smoke, text such as Yum or Yuck.
  3. Sight – anything that looks like a monster, abandoned vehicles, impoverished parts of town.
  4. Hearing – using text such as choo, choo, hmmm, ouch, a hand scratching a blackboard, any musical instrument.
  5. Taste – a bottle of Pepto Bismal or horseradish, broccoli, a close up of a tongue with any type of food on it. When taking a photo look for things that are powerful adjectives such as sharp (as in ouch), faded, ancient, crushed, smashed, broken, battered, crude.

I’m sure you have your own ideas of making the ugly beautiful.

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